1 June 2017. First Quarter Moon, 12:42 UT
3 June. A waxing gibbous Moon lies about 2º from the planet Jupiter. For most of June, the big planet lies a fist’s width to the west of the bright star Spica in the constellation Virgo. It’s two months past opposition, so the planet is growing smaller and fainter, yet at magnitude -2.3 to -2.o it still far outshines any star. The planet has been retrograding, which means it’s moving westward each night against the stars. On June 9, it resumes eastward motion once again and moves closer to Spica for the next couple of months..
3 June. Venus reaches greatest western elongation at 46º from the Sun. In the northern hemisphere, the planet is relatively low over the eastern horizon before dawn; southern stargazers see the planet at a much higher altitude. Venus is moving away from us this month. It shrinks in apparent size from 24″ to 18″ while its face becomes increasingly lit by the Sun’s light. Decreasing size wins: the brightness of the planet drops from magnitude -4.5 to -4.2 during June.
9 June. Full Moon, 13:10 UT
9 June. The planet Saturn lies about 3° west of the full Moon.
14 June. Saturn reaches opposition. The planet rises in the east as the Sun sets in the west and makes its closest approach to Earth for 2017. Saturn lies in the constellation Ophiuchus this month due east of the brilliant red-orange star Antares and west of the teapot-shaped constellation Sagittarius. At magnitude 0.0, the planet is the brightest object in this part of the sky. The rings are tilted more than 26º towards our line of sight so the planet is tremendously bright and beautiful in a telescope, though it is rather small. Southern-hemisphere stargazers can see the planet nearly overhead. Northerners must put up with views of the planet through murky air near the southern horizon this year and for the next several years.
15 June. The mysterious June Lyrid meteor shower peaks. First discovered in 1966, this tenuous meteor shower has waxed and waned over the years. At best, it has produced 8 to 10 blue-white meteors an hour that trace their paths back to a point near the bright star Vega in the constellation Lyra. Meteor showers usually occur when Earth passes through a stream of debris from a comet, but it’s unclear which comet (or asteroid) causes this sporadic little shower.
16 June. Neptune lies about 0.7º north of the waning gibbous Moon at about 13:00 UT.
17 June. Last Quarter Moon, 11:33 UT
20 June. Look for the photogenic pairing of the brilliant planet Venus and the waning crescent Moon in the eastern sky before sunrise.
21 June. The Sun reaches the northern solstice, its most northerly point in the sky for the year, at 04:24 UT. This marks the beginning of summer in the northern hemisphere and winter in the southern hemisphere.
24 June. New Moon, 02:31 UT
28 June. The crescent Moon grazes the bright star Regulus in the constellation Leo in the western sky after sunset.Share This: